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Anthony leads Knicks past Sixers

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Unlike the Philadelphia 76ers, the New York Knicks didn't tip off the season on time last week. But it was the Knicks, and not the 76ers, who looked to be in midseason form Sunday afternoon.

Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points to lead four New York Knicks in double figures as New York routed Philadelphia 100-84 at Madison Square Garden.

J.R. Smith scored 20 points and hit four of the Knicks' 11 3-pointers, Jason Kidd scored 12 points and Raymond Felton added 11 points for the Knicks.

New York had its season opener at Brooklyn postponed on Thursday due to Hurricane Sandy but have trailed just once -- at 2-0 for a 39-seconds span against the 76ers -- in winning their first two games of the season for the first time this century.

Two nights after forcing the defending champion Heat into 21 turnovers and limiting them to 84 points in a surprising rout, the Knicks forced 18 76ers turnovers and never let Philadelphia get comfortable on offense in a thorough victory.

"Our defense was solid from the beginning to the end," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "You hold any team in this league under 90 points, you put yourself in position to win games."

Anthony once again led the Knicks on both sides of the floor. After recording 30 points, 10 rebounds and two steals against the Miami Heat on Friday, Anthony contributed five rebounds, two blocks and a steal on Sunday.

He also delivered a couple hustle plays that helped set the tone for the afternoon. In the first quarter, Anthony blocked Nick Young's shot and dove into the second row of seats behind the 76ers bench in pursuit of the loose ball. And in the final seconds of the third quarter, Anthony harassed Dorell Wright near midcourt and forced him to turn the ball over.

"I'm just trying to do the little things to make this team better," Anthony said. "Everybody in the world knows I can score the basketball with the best of them, so for me to come out here and do something other than score the basketball, it makes us better."

Jrue Holiday had 27 points and Thaddeus Young scored 16 points for the 76ers, who fell to 1-1 in playing their first game in four days. Evan Turner had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds for the visitors.

"I thought they were much more aggressive than us," 76ers coach Doug Collins said. "I think the layoff hurt us a little bit. We didn't adjust to the speed of the game, the physicality of the game early. I'm hoping as we start playing more games we'll be better."

Just as they did against the defending champion Heat in the stunning rout, the Knicks wasted no time racing out to a big lead Sunday. A 14-7 run fueled by five points apiece from Anthony and Ronnie Brewer gave the Knicks a 19-12 lead midway through the first quarter and the 76ers got within three points just two more times, none after the first 12 minutes.

The Knicks extended their lead to 10 points for the first time on a Brewer layup less than 3 minutes into the second quarter. The Knicks led 57-44 at the half and never led by less than nine in the second half.

New York took its biggest lead when the 39-year-old Kidd fired a bounce pass to 40-year-old Kurt Thomas, who faked out Spencer Hawes, drew the foul as he hit the layup and hit the free throw to give the Knicks a 72-55 lead.

"If we play defense, you're going to give yourself a great chance to win games," Felton said. "So long as we continue to do that, offense will take care of itself (because) we have so many tremendous scorers."

Notes: Kidd also had seven assists and no turnovers in 23 impressive minutes at point guard. ... Anthony was whistled for a technical foul in the third quarter while Thomas drew a flagrant foul in the second quarter. ... The Knicks and 76ers play again Monday night in Philadelphia. It is the first of 19 back-to-back games for the Knicks and the first of 20 back-to-backs for the 76ers. ... The Knicks are 2-0 for the first time since 1999-2000, when they opened 3-0. The 76ers haven't opened 2-0 since 2006-07.

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